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Afghan army chopper crashes, 13 dead: military

world Updated: Jan 15, 2009 16:45 IST

AFP
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An Afghan National Army (ANA) helicopter crashed today in western Afghanistan, killing the top general for the region and a dozen other people on board, defence officials said.

The helicopter crashed in bad weather in the Adraskan district of Herat province, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Herat city, officials said.

The delegation had been en route to neighbouring Farah province to visit an army base, they said.

"This morning, the commander of Zafar military corps, General Fazel Ahmad Sayar, together with 12 other ANA members, were on their way from Herat to Farah province when due to bad weather their helicopter crashed and all those on board were martyred," it said.

Basir Khan Ghori, spokesman for the military corps in western Afghanistan, said the helicopter had crashed into a mountain in poor weather, confirming the general's death.

Another defence ministry official said however on condition of anonymity that it was not clear if the chopper was brought down by bad weather or "enemy fire."

Besides the commander, the dead included the corps operations chief, its telecommunications chief, five bodyguards, four crew and the commander's chief of staff, he said.